India RegionFarming and Agriculture

INI Farms expands India’s global footprint in F&V Exports; Sends Pomegranates to the US via sea route

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01 March 2024, Mumbai: INI Farms (part of the AgroStar Group) has flagged off the first container of ‘Kimaye’ pomegranates to the USA. This is a groundbreaking development for Indian F&V exports as it marks the start of fruit exports to the USA via the sea route. Traveling nearly 20,000 km, this is the longest distance traveled by any Indian fruit in the world!

The outcome is the result of more than year-long joint efforts of APEDA, Ministry of Commerce and Industry – GOI, Ministry of Agriculture Govt of Maharashtra, Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB), United States Department of Agriculture APHIS (USDA APHIS), NPPO, Pomegranate National Research Center and INI Farms. This encompassed various initiatives from farm registrations, training & monitoring, air shipment trials, development of sea protocol, static trials for shelf life extension, and post-harvest treatment.

The container was flagged off by Shri Rajesh Aggarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, and Shri Abhishek Dev, Chairman APEDA at MSAMB’s Irradiation Facility Center in Vashi (Navi Mumbai). The event was graced by dignitaries from MSAMB, Regional Plant Quarantine Station (RPQS – MoA&FW), the US Consulate and US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), APEDA, and NRC Solapur. The consignment of 4200 boxes (12.6 tons) of ‘Kimaye’ pomegranates is set to sail to delight customers in the US

Today, India is the world’s largest producer of pomegranates, with over 2,75,500 hectares of land under cultivation. During the fiscal year 2022-23, the country exported over 60,000 metric tonnes of pomegranates to countries like the UAE, the Netherlands, Oman, Bahrain, and others. The successful export of pomegranates to the USA opens up a new opportunity for Indian pomegranate farmers and exporters and will open doors to other long-distance markets like Australia.

During the event, Mr. Rajesh Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce said, “There is a huge opportunity for exports for the Indian Agriculture Industry. India’s unique agro-climatic conditions combined with the vast diversity of F&V offerings and our ability to grow produce around the year give us a unique advantage in the global F&V trade. Such initiatives are connecting Indian farmers to the world and this will massively benefit both parties as global consumers will get the opportunity to enjoy Indian produce and as a result, Indian farmers will prosper with the help of access to global markets. This initiative is a good start and a testament to the growing Indo-US relations. I would like to thank all stakeholders from APEDA, NPPO, MSAMB, NRC, US Consulate, and INI Farms for making this initiative possible.”

Mr. Abhishek Dev, Chairman, APEDA said, “Fruit exports from India have been growing steadily over the last few years. We are seeing 29% year-on-year growth in fresh fruit exports and Pomegranate alone is growing at 20% year-on-year and has the potential to grow further in the coming years. This initiative is a collaborative effort from the production side, the exporter, and the buyers. We are grateful to the efforts of the USDA officials who helped us implement the right practices. We also developed sea protocols which have helped us build a 60-day shelf life of the product and preserve its quality. With the success of this first commercial sea trial shipment of Pomegranates to the USA, we are hopeful that it will open up many more opportunities for F&V exports to the USA.”

Sharing his thoughts on the milestone, Pankaj Khandelwal, Co-CEO, INI Farms said, “We are proud to be the pioneers in the industry to ship pomegranates to the USA. This milestone is part of the continuous efforts of the entire INI Farms team that has helped put the Indian Farmer on the world map by making great quality Indian fruits available worldwide. We are grateful for the support provided by APEDA, NRC Solapur, RPQS, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, MoA&FW, MSAMB, Maharashtra Agriculture Ministry and USDA APHIS in making this possible.”

Also Read: Secretary Agriculture Releases Two Whitepapers by Kisan-Vigyan Foundation on India’s Food Security

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